Lake Conestee Dam is located on the main stem of the Reedy River in Greenville County. The dam is one of the few stone masonry structures regulated under the South Carolina Dams and Reservoir Safety Act and is believed to have been constructed in the mid to late 1880s. The dam has reached the end of its original intended service life.
Lake Conestee Dam is a unique structure in our state, to learn about it's history and DHEC's role in regulating it, click on the interactive Storymap here.
Sampling that was conducted 20 years ago detected the presence of metals, pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) within the sediment at concentrations above EPA levels acceptable for unrestricted use -- PAHs were the most prevalent. These detected constituents are common to urban area runoff, and the sources of these types of constituents are often varied, depending on what is upstream of the watershed. The sediments behind the Lake Conestee dam have been accumulating there since the dam was built in the late 1800s, so the sources of the detected constituents have come and gone over time.
DHEC's partnership with the Conestee Nature Preserve began in 2001 when The Conestee Foundation entered into a Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC) with DHEC. The VCC allowed development of Lake Conestee into what has become Conestee Nature Preserve. The VCC outlines measures to prevent exposure to the contaminants in the sediments in the lake. These measures include allowing cleaner sediments to continue to collect in the lake covering the older more contaminated sediments, and keeping the dam in place to prevent the contaminated sediments from migrating downstream. In 2022, $3 million was allotted from the South Carolina general state budget to expedite plans for long-term stability of the dam.
The collaboration between DHEC and Conestee Nature Preserve, as well as other consultants, stakeholders, and partners is working toward finding a long-term solution for the dam.
DHEC will update this webpage to keep the public informed about the progress at Lake Conestee Dam. The Conestee Foundation is planning to hold community meetings in both Greenville and Greenwood in March of 2023 - click here for dates, times, and locations.